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New State Laws Take Effect Tomorrow

New State Laws Take Effect Tomorrow

Posted - Jun. 30, 2003 at 5:37 p.m.



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Richard Piatt ReportingThirty-four new state laws take effect tomorrow, July first. Mixed in with the technical language the Legislature has included a tax that many people will soon to start paying.

Subscribers to cable or satellite will soon be subject to a sales tax on that starts at midnight. So far, there hasn't been much outcry about the tax and may not be until people see the change in their monthly bill.

For a person with cable or satellite bill of 50-dollars a month, the tax will mean an extra three dollars on top of the other fees which apply.

Cable companies like the state's largest, Comcast, now have a PR job ahead of them in explaining that the tax isn't a rate increase.

Barbara Shelley/Comcast Cable Communications: "We're explaining the tax to customers. It's important they know this is a state tax, and we're collecting the tax for the state. So we're explaining and talking to the customer."

This year the Legislature lifted an exemption on cable/satellite sales tax in order to help balance the budget. The tax is expected to raise between 14 and 20-million dollars this year.

It's the kind of tax Utah's Taxpayers Association opposed from the beginning, especially because of current events.

Mike Jerman/Utah Taxpayers Association: "That's a lot of money, especially at a time when a lot of people are out of work, unemployment is high. In the private sector aren't getting raises or bonuses. This is going to hurt a lot of people."

There are dozens of other laws that take effect July first too, including misdemeanor penalties for those who don't appear for jury duty. Fines for parking illegally in disabled parking spots are going up too, from 100 to 125 dollars per offense. And cleaner burning cars, six years old and newer, will only require emissions testing once every two years instead of once a year.

As far as the state's budget, which has been in and out of balance a lot, the year ends on a high note, partly thanks to millions of dollars in federal aid, which takes the pressure off, at least for a while.

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